Create Courses with Your Audience’s Self Interest and Concerns in Mind with Entrepreneur Jonathan Denwood
Manage episode 184084094 series 1209802
This episode of LMScast with Chris Badgett of LifterLMS is about how to create courses with your audience’s self interest and concerns in mind with podcast host and entrepreneur Jonathan Denwood. Jonathan shares his story, and they discuss Jonathan’s career in the online course world and what he has learned from it.
Jonathan has two podcasts. One is called WP-Tonic, and the other is called Mail-Right, which is for the real estate industry. He also has a SaaS, or software as a service, product called Mail-Right, which is for the real estate industry as well. When Jonathan was in his 20s he started a dry cleaning business that expanded and was very successful. He devoted his interest to the online course world when he saw universities integrating them into their main course loads.
Chris and Jonathan discuss partnerships and how making it in almost any industry relies on those partnerships. They discuss more about how battles are won before they’re even fought, so putting in the research and quality assurance is necessary. They also break down the basic steps of what it takes to enter modern marketing.
Jonathan did a lot of work with small business clients, but he also did a lot of medium sized clients that would hire him on retainers to build websites. There was a lot of growing infrastructure in Northern Nevada where he was located at the time. But that all went downhill within a period of about six months. When Jonathan was looking at getting some more clients, he met Bill Conrad who suggested that Jonathan do a podcast with Bill as his co-host. He faced a lot of difficulties getting started just due to procrastination and an inability to take the first step. He learned that it is the first step that feels impossible to do, and you just have to do it.
A lot of people say if you publish good content and you publish enough of it, then you will get traffic. But as Chris and Jonathan discuss, that is not necessarily true. You have to do the in-depth research and a pre-investigation in order to create something better or different from the competition. Chris and Jonathan discuss how creating more in-depth content with more detail than the competition will help build your email list and get you SEO value.
To learn more about Jonathan Denwood, you can type his name into Google and learn all about him. But you can also find him on Twitter at @JonathanDenwood, and you can find him on his two podcasts WP-Tonic and Mail Right as well.
You can post comments and subscribe to our newsletter for updates, developments, and future episodes of LMScast. Thank you for joining us.
Chris Badgett: Hello and welcome back to another episode of LMS Cast. My name is Chris Badgett and today we have a special guest, Jonathan Denwood. Jonathan has two podcasts. One of them is called The WP-Tonic. The other one is called Mail Right, which is for the real estate industry. He also has a SaaS, or software as a service product, called Mail Right that serves the real estate industry and does particular things in that niche. I wanted to get Jonathan on the show and talk to him kind of in the trenches as a WordPress person, as somebody who’s building a SaaS product and an online business. We’re going to unpack some lessons learned and just kind of share some experiences that we’ve come across as people who have been in the trenches with online business for a while. Also, through our podcast platforms, had the pleasure and honor to interview so many different people, which gives us even more perspective than our own personal experience. First, Jonathan, thank you for coming on the show.
Jonathan Denwood: Oh, thank you so much, Chris. It’s a pleasure coming on your podcast. I listen to it regularly and have learned many things from it, Chris.
Chris Badgett: Awesome. Well, I appreciate that. Well, tell us a little bit about who you are, what you do, kind of where you came from and then we’re going to kind of get into your story in a little more detail.
Jonathan Denwood: Well, I’m bit of an adventurer in the online industry, yeah. Basically I got into it as a hobby in the late ’90s actually when we had modems. I still love that sound really. I had a successful retail business, which I started in my early 20s. That was actually in dry cleaning and that had expanded to a major production unit with four satellite units. That kept me busy, but I just got kind of always been a little bit artistic with drawing and that. Also, I love my gadgets, my technology. When the internet came alive, it was the combination of various factors that really appealed to me. I decided as a mature student to do a university course. I would be the only person in my family and I decided to do that full time, plus run my business.
You’re going to get afraid here. I tend to take on multiple things. In England, university courses you do them full time about three years in length and it’s very closed. At the time there was only two universities in the London or the surrounding areas that were doing courses around multimedia as they called it. Funny enough, the one university was my local university that was only one mile away from my main business. I trotted down and saw the course director and they accepted me. They were still deducing CD-ROM’s using a product called Director for multimedia. I don’t know if you ever heard of it, Chris.
Chris Badgett: Maybe. I remember CD-ROM’s, but I don’t remember Director.
Jonathan Denwood: No, you’re a puppy compared to me. It was CD-ROM production through Director or visual basic. Then they threw in some 3D courses as well and sound courses and anything else that the tutors were into. It was a bit of a mixture. Then the web really started getting big during those three years, so they really threw out most of the established courses and put in more web courses. That’s where I kind of devout my interest in all this. After I passed that and got my degree, I did some part-time freelances as a flash-action script developer. Actually Chris, all my confessions are coming out now, Chris, that I actually produced stuff in flash. I really enjoyed that until, and that was around my other business, and then you had the Dot Com crash and all the flash work just disappeared, Chris, just disappeared.
Chris Badgett: Wow. Bring us to today. Now you’re a self-admitted WordPress junkie. You’re really into working in the real estate niche. Tell us what your projects that you said you could never do just one, so what are you juggling today?
Jonathan Denwood: Well, I should just do one, but I don’t think I’m the only one. I was listening to the Matt Report and Matt had said, “Yeah,” he’s got various things going. I think he might be the same. I’m not sure. Well, [inaudible 00:05:42] was married to an American lady and we lived in England for a while and then she said she just had enough. She loved Britain, but she said she couldn’t tolerate the weather anymore. It was a big decision, but I agreed that we should move to America and I ended up in Northern Nevada of all places. Then I took a year off because I was a little bit burnt out and I just wanted to become a skinny bum for a year basically. Then I was looking at the next thing and I really got into WordPress. This was WordPress 2.8. I think it was just before the menu system got integrated from WooCommerce and I think that’s 3.0, I think. That’s when I got into it. It was still seen as very much a blogging platform. This was before custom posts and basically, it was very restrictive compared to some other CRMs.
Also in England, before I moved, I had done not only flash work. I was recently involved in the Expression Engine community. If people listening to this, it’s still going, still owned by Ellislab and it’s still a smallish community. Nothing like the size of the WordPress community. It was really quite popular in Britain at the time. I was doing some Expression Engine work when I moved to America and then I got onto WordPress. As soon as 3.0 came along and they sorted out the menu and also custom posts and with the amount of plug-ins and just how much more easier it was to teach people how to use it compared to Drupal or Joomla!, I could see that it probably was going to be a major player in the CRM market, so I decided to really delve into that, Chris.
Chris Badgett: When did you make the jump from working with WordPress and building projects, or maybe charging for clients and things, to building a podcast around the WordPress topic?
Jonathan Denwood: Well, it was really like most things. What happened was obviously for a couple years I was doing okay and then the recession hit and it was really quite vicious in Northern Nevada. A lot of my customer base was local and a lot of it went bust.
Chris Badgett: Were these freelance small-business clients that you were building WordPress websites for or what’s the customer base?
Jonathan Denwood: A lot of that. Also, a lot of couple medium clients that would hire me on retainers. They went under as well. It was a bit of a blood bath in Northern Nevada when it came to business. The first couple of years when I moved, it was booming. There was construction everywhere, Chris. It was practically impossible to get yourself booked into any kind of restaurant almost any day of the week.
Chris Badgett: Wow.
Jonathan Denwood: There was so many people in the construction industry building things in Northern Nevada. In a six-month period it practically all disappeared. Luckily I had money in the bank, but also my customer supply, so I thought I need to get more clients and more exposure outside of Northern Nevada, how to do that? I met my first co-host of WP-Tonic, Bill Conrad, and he was big into podcasting. He said, “Why don’t you do a podcast and I’ll be your co-host?” I thought this must be because I’ve been thinking about it for over six, seven months, but I just couldn’t be bothered to do that. Like most things, isn’t it Chris? It’s that first step, isn’t it?
Chris Badgett: Right and here you are. I’m on the WP-Tonic website right now and I’m just going to get your current podcast number.
Jonathan Denwood: I think it’s at 184, aye?
Chris Badgett: 185.
Jonathan Denwood: Yeah.
Chris Badgett: Yeah, so here you are. How long ago was that from this recording did you start podcasting?
Jonathan Denwood: I think that must’ve been about probably on to almost three years now. It’s pretty similar to Matt of the Matt Report. It’s been a real education. It’s been a real eye opener doing the podcast. I practically know everybody in the WordPress community now. I’m blessed with a fantastic co-host, another great co-host, John Locke, who came on board I think eight, nine months ago. With his help we’ve built the audience. Well, the past two to three months we’ve doubled our audience.
Chris Badgett: Oh, that’s fantastic. Well, let’s park it right here for a little bit on podcasting. One of the questions that I get asked all the time from course creators and digital entrepreneurs is what kind of marketing works? I always tell them three things. There’s inbound, outbound and relationship. Inbound is content marketing. Outbound is actually prospecting and going places, events, sending cold emails, calls, all that stuff. Then there’s relationships. For me, podcasting has been a huge content-creation machine and also relationship building vehicle. What have you discovered in your journey with, now, two podcasts, WP-Tonic and the Mail-Right podcast?
Jonathan Denwood: Well, I do agree with you. I think the power of podcasting is that I was kind of brought up on the BBC. I was brought up on Radio 4, Radio 3. Won’t mean a lot to your US listeners, but anybody based in the UK would understand.
Chris Badgett: That’s like NPR in the US, right?
Jonathan Denwood: Yeah, yeah.
Chris Badgett: National Public Radio.
Jonathan Denwood: Yeah. I was kind of brought up on that really and I think the power of podcasting is that there’s something very personal about it. If they listen to your podcast and become regular listeners, they become very loyal supporters and listeners to the show. I think that kind of building relationship is powerful much more than other mediums. I think the other thing that you’ve got to realize is my interests are really guided by the necessities of the business. At the present moment there’s two areas that I’ve become obsessed about. That’s SEO, search engine optimization, and outbound marketing. The other one is Facebook. They are the two areas over the past year that I’ve totally engrossed myself in.
Chris Badgett: Okay.
Jonathan Denwood: I think if you’re selling any kind of online service or marketing a course, a membership website, an eCommerce product, it doesn’t really matter what it is. If you really don’t have a fundamental understanding of SEO and a fundamental understanding of Facebook, I really think you’re going to find things difficult.
Chris Badgett: Absolutely and I mean, just on the podcasting note, first of all, I just love it and I love the relationships, but it’s so powerful for SEO. First of all, for me anyways, it’s easier to talk and to have a conversation with somebody like yourself. This becomes a blog post that gets also syndicated through iTunes and other places. Also, I use a service called Rev to get the audio transcribed, so when the podcast is published, every single word we’re saying here becomes a keyword phrase that gets indexed. When people are googling for how to grow an online course business with podcasting, that keyword phrase is just right there in the text and now they’re going to find this interview. It’s mostly about, in my work view, the long-tail keyword phrases that are really niche focused.
Like you mentioned, you’re in the WordPress community and the custom post types and the menus and the different versions and all this stuff, there’s all this terminology that people are trying to figure out. Podcasting is just a way to crank out that SEO stuff, especially if you just do one little thing, which makes it easier for SEO stuff to be indexed by having a transcript. What are some of your tips and tricks on SEO?
Jonathan Denwood: Well, you’ve really got to think about it because you did the smart thing in a way really because your podcast is very much aimed at what your SaaS project product is aimed at. When I decided to go at the time I was a traditional, regional, mostly WordPress, but I would also delve in some other CRMs if WordPress wasn’t suitable. I’ve moved that onto becoming a totally WordPress base and moving away from the traditional agency model to some degree to a maintenance-security company aimed at small to medium professional businesses. That’s the focus on the commercial side of WP-Tonic and the podcast is about the general community.
In SEO terms, the spread of terms are much more broader than what would naturally be produced. Your show is really around a topic where your SaaS product is also focused on. The podcast was devout before I decided to move down that specific WordPress channel. I’ve been trying to match up and trying to teach Google what areas that I wanted to see and what areas I don’t, so internal link structure. The problem with SEO is everybody thinks that there’s tricks, but the success in SEO really, Chris, is methodical method. Having a checklist for your posts and making all the images tagged correctly.
Chris Badgett: Yeah.
Jonathan Denwood: Making sure that you got a certain level of links, internal links, to other pages. Pruning, as I call it, actually doing a three-month to six-month audit and either removing pages that are not getting traffic or redirecting them so that they’re redirected to pages that are getting a certain level of traffic. Doing that basically. Not just writing a post just for the sake of writing it, actually look. There’s a number of tools. The one that I use is SEO Rush is actually looking at the competitors. If I’ve got an idea for a post, what phrases, what terms, are getting enough volume to make it worthwhile? I’m a great believer of a guy called Brian Dean. I don’t know if you’ve heard of him.
Chris Badgett: Is he the Backlinko?
Jonathan Denwood: Yes, yes.
Chris Badgett: Yeah, there’s a few people I really listen to on SEO. I like him. I’ve also learned a lot from Rebecca Gill.
Jonathan Denwood: Yes, Rebecca Gill’s been on the show. She’s doing a virtual conference next week and I’m actually joining that actually as a participant. I’ve learned a lot from Rebecca and I do agree with her philosophy on that. Back to Brian Dean, a lot of people say if you publish good content and you publish enough of it, you will get traffic. I just totally disagree with that. I think that’s the road to madness basically. I think all you’ve got to do is do some pre-investigation and then you’ve got to write something that’s better than the competition. Then you go back to it periodically to update it and you improve it. Then you’ve got to market that content vigorously. You’ve got to do outreach through email, telephone and you’ve got to tell. That’s part of your research. People that have utilized similar content before and then tell them about your better content.
Chris Badgett: Yeah, so Brian Dean is at backlinko.com. One of the things I’ve learned from him was just a technique called the Skyscraper Technique, which is pretty much what you’re saying where find the best post on whatever the phrase is and just make something better. Make it long. Make it in depth. Spend a lot of time researching and making sure it’s adding value. You can put some content upgrades on there where people opt-in, they get something else and now you’re building your email list, but the first goal is just getting that SEO value. I would rather have one giant post come out in 60 days as opposed to doing a 250 or 500-word blog post a day for 60 days. I would much rather have that one really awesome blog post.
Jonathan Denwood: Yeah, that’s what I say. I think like most battles, most battles are won really before the first shot is even fired. Battles, to use the military [inaudible 00:22:20], are a bit of a contradiction. I think you can apply it to web businesses. What do I mean by this? Well, most battle plans are useless. When the first shot is the actual, how the battle will commence goes out the window because there’s just too many variables. On the other hand, making sure if you’ve got three times more tanks and you got three times more artillery and you’ve got a good idea of the tactics of your opposition and you know what tactics will appeal to them and you make sure that you got overwhelming folks to meet, which is pretty obvious what they’re going to do, there’s a pretty good chance you’re going to win, isn’t it Chris?
Chris Badgett: Yeah, yeah, absolutely.
Jonathan Denwood: There’s the contradiction. What I mean is most battles are won before they’re even fought. Just blogging for the sake of blogging, just churning out content and hoping that people will find it, unless you’re a big name in that specific area, it’s very unlikely that’s going to happen. Isn’t it?
Chris Badgett: That’s true. I love what you’re saying too about checklists. The habits are almost even more important than the strategy. For example, when we publish on LifterLMS and we publish a YouTube video, even this podcast episode we’re doing right now, it’s also a video. That’s very intentional because we’re going to have a SEO-optimized title. We’re going to actually fill out the YouTube description. In the first part there’s going to be a link to our site. It’s clickable in Google and YouTube. We’re going to use strategically smart tags. Applying some tags to help tell Google what it’s all about, or YouTube. Then we’ll also upload the transcript. All that stuff, that’s just part of a checklist. Just the very fact that we do that, I mean, the battle is won before it’s even fought. That’s what it’s all about, the habit. It’s not about the hustle and the struggle of 18-hour days. It’s about having a smart check. I can hustle and I have had plenty of 18-hour days in my life, but what I’d really prefer are great habits and great checklists.
Jonathan Denwood: Well, now you’ve got to have good content, folks. I will say that I, for various reasons, am the worst person for this. Having a good co-host on the WP-Tonic, he has helped on that side considerably. Also, educating myself over the past eight months in this area has really shown me also. You also got to have some plan on your website with internal link structure. That should be part of your pruning exercise. We’re going through a major pruning of the WP-Tonic website as we talk. We’ve been getting rid of a lot of the pages that are not getting traffic. There’s basically diluting your domain authority. That’s the problem with that.
Obviously WP Curve got taken over by GoDaddy, so they’re not so active in their content marketing as they were. Obviously, WP Site Care, they have a small team that’s just dedicated to that. I’m just looking to improve the overall traffic numbers to the WP-Tonic site and trying to get the Tonic site on page one of certain key terms and then the fight’s on. The only terrible thing about organic search is that it’s well known that if you’re in the top three, you get 17% of all traffic. If you’re below those three, you get about five to maybe 3% of the gravy. That’s the terrible thing about it, isn’t it Chris?
Chris Badgett: Definitely. Well, let me ask you another question. Just in general, you mentioned having a co-host has been helpful and I would say in general, finding partnerships in business is a good thing. I couldn’t do what I do without a strong partnership. In terms of podcasting specifically, what is the value of a co-host? Could you speak to that and also just the power of partnerships in general and business?
Jonathan Denwood: I think it’s like anything. I know partnership is really like a marriage. I’m unfortunately divorced and going through the experience of a bad marriage isn’t a fantastic experience even though I had a large part to do with that. It’s very similar to a bad partnership in business. Isn’t it, Chris? It’s a terrible experience. On the other hand, you meet a lot of people that say, “Oh, I will never go into partnership with other people and so I had this bad experience.” Well, I just don’t agree with that.
The person I learned is Brian Clark from StudioPress when I had him on my podcast. We also had a couple discussions. We spent a little bit of time in private discussing some things with me. He said that his great success with StudioPress and other companies were finding great partners and learning the things you lack finding a partner that can do the things that you can’t do, that enjoys doing them. He strongly advised me to look for strong partners. One of the problems with Mail-Right is that I’ve tried to do everything myself with that. I’m actively looking to get a partner to help. It’s got to the stage where I think it needs a partner to help with that.
Chris Badgett: I just want to pick up your story right here for the listener. Mail-Right is another podcast you do besides WP-Tonic, but what is the Mail-Right product or what direction is it? What problems is it trying to solve and who does it serve?
Jonathan Denwood: Well, I think we’re mostly used by agents and brokerages. Let’s be frank about it. It’s a commission-based business. The actual facts of the industry are quite brutal actually. Most people when they become certified, registered and do their state exam, after one-year period almost 70% of those that entered the industry no longer are practicing real estate agents.
Chris Badgett: Let me just jump in there too and say that I think this is also something that people don’t talk about in the online-course industry, which is a lot of people try to start an online course. They try to market it. You hear a lot about the people who made it and have this awesome course, but there’s this huge number of people it didn’t work out so well for. That’s the problem I like to attack with LifterLMS. It’s like, how do we help more people find success or set them up for success? That’s what you’re doing, right, with Mail-Right? Are you working on that problem of a lot of realtors don’t make it?
Jonathan Denwood: Well, the reason why they don’t make it is they exhaust their friends and family.
Chris Badgett: You only have so many of those.
Jonathan Denwood: Yeah. You’ve then got to market. You’ve then got to become an actual business. Most real estate agents don’t realize because they normally come from being employees to becoming their own boss.
Chris Badgett: They’re entrepreneurs. I mean, it’s an entrepreneurship even if you work at a brokerage.
Jonathan Denwood: Yeah, totally because a brokerage will not really do much. They expect you as a self-employed real estate agent to market yourself, right. They will offer certain advice, certain products. I’m not being dismissive here. I’m just telling it as it is. A lot of the brokerages advice was very the way they built their business 20 years ago. It’s not really a very effective advice on the how to build up a successful real estate business in 2017.
Chris Badgett: Yeah and for those people listening, I’d encourage you to check out in the archives of LMS Cast. We have some podcast episodes specifically for the real estate industry where we talk about courses that people can make if you’re a real estate agent or a broker and you’re trying to get either seller or buyer leads. I talked about this too when I was on your podcast at the Mail-Right show, so look it up over on the Mail-Right podcast. Yeah, the world changed dramatically and how people shop for real estate with the growing internet, all the apps, smartphone. I mean, the whole game is completely changed. It’s not gone like travel agents, but it’s been dramatically disrupted in the past 10 years.
Jonathan Denwood: It’s changed. I actually do believe that there always will be a place for a quality real estate agent. It is normally the biggest asset that a private individual holds.
Chris Badgett: Yeah, it’s not like a vacation. You might be spending 200, 300, $500,000. I mean, there’s a place for service there.
Jonathan Denwood: When you’re talking about one of the most important purchases and trying to negotiate face-to-face with the other person in a businesslike way that doesn’t inject enormous emotion is impossible for most individuals. That’s why they hire a real estate agent because it’s aggravating. It’s not going to be an easy road. The actual finding of property, that’s where things have changed enormously. What Mail-Right does is it offers a suite of elements to help the agent. We write five to seven professionally written stories. A couple of them, they’re all kind of person focused, uplifting, interesting stories. Agents, they should building up their database. That’s the whole point of the first two, three years as a real estate agent is building up your database.
That database really needs to be broken up into different sections; those that you feel are actively looking for property, those in the next year might be moving or looking to buy or sell. Then the biggest of your list are people that are not actively in the market, but you need to touch them every month just to keep your face in front of the audience. They might know somebody that is either buying or selling. Sending them dry, kind of, factual what the market is doing in the next six months isn’t appropriate to their audience, so we provide some really short, fun stories that they can choose one and send it. It has an interface that’s really easy to use. Then we have a social media calendar where we actually fill that calendar in with content at the first of the month with relevant content that would be expected from a real estate agent. That’s pushed to the agent’s Twitter and their Facebook business page. They can add content to it as well. It has a library system as well.
Chris Badgett: That’s incredible. I just want to point out just the power of niching down. You’re really getting niche focused on serving this particular type of customer and how awesome that is. It’s really easy to think in the things that have already been done. Like in the online-course world, for example, there’s a lot of technology courses like Teamtreehouse, lynda.com, Codecademy, but that’s just the early adopters in the market. There’s so many other things to teach online. There’s whole industries that are barely getting started coming online. When it comes to things like marketing and sales, yeah, internet marketing has been around for a long time and auto responders and building landing pages and opt-in pages and all that stuff.
People like you, me who are WordPress and marketing technologists, we are the early adopters. If you take that same set of tools and give it to someone who’s not technical and not planning on becoming technical, it’s overkill and it’s too complicated. It doesn’t work. They need people like you and Mail-Right to use the same thinking as an internet marketer, but give them the best and only essential pieces as a combined software solution to serve them in as frictionless a method as possible. There’s just such a big opportunity there. The reality is it’s not done. Just because Leadpages, MailChimp, Fusion Soft, or whatever, already exist, there’s still this huge opportunity to serve a really specific market like you are, so I commend you for that.
Jonathan Denwood: I think you’re so right, Chris. Your audience that obviously comes to listen about courses, that’s the one thing I think they could learn about me waffling on about real estate. You really need to be successful in your course, in your target. You should niche-ify as much as possible. Obviously you could overdo it, but in reality unless it’s a very, very, very niche audience, you’re still going to be talking in the tens of thousands if you’re talking about a global world market, aren’t you?
Chris Badgett: Yeah, I mean, whatever Kevin Kelly wrote about 1,000 true fans, you only need 100 people paying you $1,000 a year or a 1,000 people paying you a $100 a year and now you have a lifestyle business or whatever.
Jonathan Denwood: Yeah.
Chris Badgett: I recently did an interview with somebody who was saying go four levels deep. Don’t do writers or salespeople. Take it down, then take it down again and then take it down again. Then you have a niche market.
Jonathan Denwood: Yeah, I’d probably agree. Obviously there’s a lot of variables there to get in on the industry. To finish off, we have my final product, which is aimed at helping real estate agents with open houses about actually getting people to give them their contact details, which then they can go into the monthly newsletter. We give them a product that helps them on a tablet get those details into the system much more easier.
Chris Badgett: That’s beautiful. I just want to highlight that one point right there. As a technologist and marketer, we know the power of building the email list, but so much of the world is not. They’re not technologists or internet marketers, so if you can help people no matter what age or whatever, just the fact that they’re not technical, help them with the best practice like capturing leads in an open house. Typically, people come to the house and they walk around and there’s not necessarily a way to get the email. I love that. You’re making it easy for someone to kind of step into modern marketing.
Jonathan Denwood: The one here I decided that we weren’t going to go down was to turn Mail-Right into a CRM.
Chris Badgett: Yeah.
Jonathan Denwood: There’s over half a dozen industry-focused CRMs. What the CRM is, it’s a customer-relation management system. A system we will integrate with two to three of the leading ones. To be quite truthful though, I have managed to get over 100 users to Mail-Right, but it’s been a lot harder because what I didn’t take into account folks is my biggest competitor was none of the other, and there is a lot of marketing software products aimed at real estate agent folks. There is a ton of them. None of them are my real competitor. Guess what my real competitor is, Chris.
Chris Badgett: I don’t know. Is it something from the internet marketing world?
Jonathan Denwood: No. My biggest competitor is doing nothing.
Chris Badgett: Oh, I see. Yeah, so this comes down to the issue that I like to describe as, I’m not saying this is necessarily the case with you, but you have to offer a solution and not a suggestion. If somebody feels like it’s a suggestion, it’s easy to do nothing. That might just be a communication or a marketing problem or a feature problem, or whatever, but what’s your take on it, on your competition?
Jonathan Denwood: It’s just easier even though you know that you need to touch base with your clientele more often. You need to keep yourself up. Real estate agents and also most people, this applies to a lot of businesses, is a lot of freelancers or business owners, they get into what I call the figure of eight problem. The figure eight is I’m looking for clients. I’m looking for clients. I’m looking for clients. I’m looking. I get clients. Now I’ve got to do the work. Got to do the work. Got to do the work. I’ve got no time to market. I’ve got no time to market. Then, I’ve got no clients. I’ve got no clients. I’ve got no clients, so I’ve got to market now. Oh, I’ve got clients. They’re in that perpetual hamster wheel, that figure eight. Real estate agents are like that. You’ve got to provide services where they could spend half an hour to add some local content, but they also know that their Facebook page will be updated. The reason why that’s important is most of the people that are going to hire you are sussing you out online about three to six months before they hire you.
Chris Badgett: Yeah.
Jonathan Denwood: If you can’t market yourself effectively online as a real estate agent, why would they think that you would be able to market their home effectively?
Chris Badgett: Yeah, I love that. I mean, that’s the best marketing advice I’ve ever heard. I would say show, don’t tell. Talk is cheap. Yeah, it’s good to have good communication, but showing is always better than telling.
Jonathan Denwood: We provide programs, but about your main question, how to get over it because I didn’t know my main enemy would be to do nothing.
Chris Badgett: I just want to say I think that’s true for a lot of course creators too. They’re trying to help people, but they’re actually bumping up against this exact same issue, but the people they’re trying to help might just do nothing. What would you tell them to do? What’s your advice or what’s your experience?
Jonathan Denwood: There’s only two drivers that gets people to overcome. Nobody will be criticized normally for doing nothing. Only when they come close to death and they realize they wasted their life, right?
Chris Badgett: Right.
Jonathan Denwood: Most people do not get criticized for doing nothing. They get a lot of criticism, “Well, you spent 3,000 on a course, you dodo, on online courses or you bought their product.” There’s two main drivers and that’s fear and greed. Basically, we’re adding some new functionality because most agents want to get leads. What you classify as a lead, we could discuss that for a whole new episode. We’re going to hopefully with our update provide the ability at a reasonable price to get a reasonably good quality lead that any professional should have a chance of turning into a commission check. We’re going to be introducing that because that appeals to the greed element of that thing. If you can find a product that can help either on the greed side or can help on the fear side that they are normally two strong drivers to overcome what is your real main competitor, which is doing nothing.
Chris Badgett: Very well said. I appreciate that. Appealing to somebody’s greed or another way to say that would be their self interest.
Jonathan Denwood: Yes, a nicer way to put it.
Chris Badgett: That’s good. I mean, that’s not a bad thing to really appeal to that. I’m not a big believer in fake scarcity or anything like that, but there is a lot of things that people, I wouldn’t say should be fearful about, but let me PC it again, have some concern about. If we look at things like automation like truck driving, number one job in the United States. We see self-driving cars and logistics transportation coming, so automation, it is an issue for the future. Jobs are going to change and what’s going to be in demand is going to be creative problem solving that is beyond the ability of the computer algorithm or robotics. I wouldn’t say be fearful about that, but have some concern. If you’re going to position yourself or your business, or strategically for your family or whatever for the future, let’s have a healthy dose of concern. Whatever your market or your niche is, think about greed, think about self interest, think about fear, think about concern and really address those.
Jonathan Denwood: Well, I think when it comes to your course listeners, I think they’ve really got to put themselves in the mind of the consumer of the course and what are the drivers that would drive somebody to pay for your course. You’ve got to be very honest about it.
Chris Badgett: Yeah, yeah, very well said. Well, Jonathan Denwood ladies and gentlemen. I want to honor you and thank you for coming on the show and sharing your life experience. You mentioned how you got into multimedia in the early days. We live in a world of abundance. As an online-course creator or online business builder, times are interesting, but we have all these powerful tools that you never had more at your fingertips. The world may be challenging and complex, but there is also a level of abundance here. There’s opportunities to be had. Jonathan, you sharing your experience helps us see how to think about that and how to leverage these tools and learn from some of the things that you’ve done as we approach our online businesses. Thank you for coming on the show. Do you have any final thoughts and also can you let us know where people can find out more about you?
Jonathan Denwood: Actually, I was thinking about this and you probably might not agree with this or you might agree with this. I think a lot of people, especially when they’re starting off, they want to devout the website by your fantastic product if they’re looking at building a course and trying to do this themselves. I’d really advise them, I don’t think it’s worth spending the time on that. I think it’s better if you buy Chris’ fantastic product, but then hire a developer to make your website and integrate it. I would spend the time learning the fundamentals of online marketing, of SEO, of email marketing, of utilizing Facebook paid advertisement. Just really try getting that.
You should be really concentrating on how you’re going to get clients to your great website and get them to sign up for your course. Really, there’s only so many hours in the day and I think for a reasonable price it’s going to be reasonably easy to get a decent developer and get that site up and running. I think it’s not feasible for you to buy a SEO expert or expert to do all this marketing. It’s just too many hours and it would be out of your price range. That’s where you should be concentrating your time and learning the knowledge.
Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. I 100% agree with you. You can’t do it all. Business is really just two things; marketing and innovation. Innovation is your course and then there’s all this marketing. The LMS software, the online course and the membership site software, that’s just a tool to get it done. Yes, it adds value, but the places where the most value are is in your course itself, the content and the method that you teach and also in your marketing strategy for getting how are you going to get that out especially if you’re new and relatively unknown. Where can people find you on the interwebs, John?
Jonathan Denwood: I’m really easy to find. Just put Jonathan Denwood into Google and you’ll just find me. I’m pretty active on my Twitter feed. That’s @JonathanDenwood. The WP-Tonic and the WP Mail-Right site, but the WP-Tonic, we have a large group of people and it’s got a lot of information about WordPress. That’s at www.wp-tonic.com. There is a lot. We’ve also recently been doing audit and we were amazed at the amount of pages that are on that website. If you’re in real estate plus looking to start your own course, do look at the Mail-Right product because it’s a fantastic value and we are going to be updating it in the near future. I feel it’s going to become a really fantastic, interesting product, Chris.
Chris Badgett: Awesome. Well, thank you for coming on the show, Jonathan. I really appreciate it.
Jonathan Denwood: Thank you, Chris.
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